Despite the fact that the national family planning program in korea has accomplished its primary goals of fertility reduction and universal contraceptive use, the induced abortion is still high and there has been an increasing trend in the population sex ratio at birth. It seems that the changes in the imbalance of sex ratio have originated from traditonal boy preference. This indicates that much of the current family planning program can be overhauled, so that the program quality could be better controlled, by preventing the number of unwanted pregnancies and the imbalance of sex ratios. This paper aims, therefore, to examine the determinants of induced abortion through the investigation of pregnancy outcomes and their changes over time and to study the interaction between induced abortion, boy preference and the imbalance of sex ratio in Korea. The abortion rate had increased rapidly until the mid-1980s when there were about the same number of abortions as live births. Thereafter, the abortion rate has been maintained at this high level. By parity it shows a much higher abortion rate for a higher parity at all time. From the first parity, the sex composition of previous children stands out as the most important factor in deciding the pregnancy outcome at all time. The probability of a pregnancy ending in an abortion increases substantially when parents already had a son. The decline of the desired family size and the sustained strong son preference has made the sex of children a more important factor in the determination of the pregnancy outcome. Women's education has had consistently positive effects on the probability of a pregnancy ending in an abortion, but the effect shows a steady decline over time. The premarital pregnancy and urban residence also increase the abortion probability. This study suggests that the main concerns of the family planning program should be to strengthen the social support policies so as to weaken the son preference value leading to a balanced sex ratio and prevention of induced abortions.
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